Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday night said they never demanded freedom from India — “We demanded freedom within India,” he said while addressing a gathering of thousands of students on the campus after spending days in Tihar jail on sedition charges.
“We never demanded azadi (freedom) from India. We want azadi within India…from starvation, feudalism, Brahmanism, casteism, rioters and looters of the country,” said the JNUSU leader in his blistering speech at the same place (administrative block) where he had addressed students just a day before his arrest.
In his 45-minute speech that blended the personal with the political, Kanhaiya took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Despite ideological differences, Kanhaiya said that he seconded the PM’s words, ‘Satyamev Jayate’, but he wished that the let the truth come out.
Referring to the PM’s speech in Parliament on Thursday, Kumar said, “Modiji was talking about Stalin and Khrushchev in Parliament. When I heard him speaking I felt like jumping into the TV screen, grabbing his suit and saying, ‘Modiji, please speak about Hitler a little’. Forget about Hitler, talk about Mussolini whose black cap you wear and with whom RSS founder MS Golwalkar went to meet.”
He further lambasted Modi by saying, “I come from a village, where there are magic shows. People show magic and sell rings that fulfil all wishes…We have some people like that in our country, who say black money will come back and Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (together with all, development for all). We Indians forget things too soon but this time the tamasha is too big. These jumlas won’t be forgotten.”
“I want to remind our government that 69 percent voted against you. Just 31 percent voters voted for you and some of them were caught up in your jumlas. And today, they are running a distraction campaign so that people don’t ask them the real questions,” he added.